Wednesday, April 10, 2013

FAIL: Metallomusikum is migrating to WordPress

I know. I know. It's a pain in the neck. But my patience with Blogger has reached it's end. WordPress has a nicer look to it anyway. So going forward, please direct your browser to for useless metal news.

This version of Metallomusikum on Blogger will remain here indefinitely. Old links you may have bookmarked will probably not work, but all the content from January 1, 2012--April 10, 2013 is still here. It's searchable.
All this is also on the new site, and moved over, mostly unscathed aside from some dead links which I will fix eventually.

You can also find my writings on; Tumblr, and Twitter. Watch some of my videos on YouTube or listen to soundclips on SoundCloud. The Facebook page remains the same. Thanks for listening.

INTERVIEW: LOSS to serve 'unjoy' for Maryland Deathfest

For some people, there is a sweet, cathartic pleasure in immersing oneself in utter pain, despair and desperation. The group Loss provides the soundtrack to that experience. What else would you expect from a band whose motto is Fatum Vestri Vita—doom your life?

Loss performs at the 2013 Maryland Deathfest on Saturday, May 25 at the Sonar compound.
LOSS photo by Diana Lee Zadlo
This funeral doom outfit formed in late 2003 and claims “Music City” Nashville, TN as their home. They’ve produced a variety of demos, EPs and splits over that time, but not until 2011 did they birth the full-length recording Despond on Profound Lore in 2011.
True to the funeral doom descriptor, Loss produces slow, heavy, dirge-like melodies framed by Mike Meacham’s hollow, throaty growls. If you like groups like Pallbearer or Evoken, Loss will be your cup of gloom.
Loss’s music lives in a gray, bleak world, but somehow that lifeless miasma is comforting and, at times, epic. Light does stream in, and I find their music not quite as weighty as some of their funeral doom colleagues.
Mike replied to my MDF questions. Here are his replies:
What will be the official lineup for Maryland Deathfest?
The standard lineup…original four members:

Jay LeMaire - drums
Tim Lewis - guitar
John Anderson - bass
Mike Meacham - guitar/throat

What do you consider to be one of your band’s most essential
recordings? And why?
For certain the Despond album. It’s our first full length and is a perfect representation of all the emotions we wish to capture.

How does your band feel about playing Maryland Deathfest? What
have you heard about this festival?
We are looking forward to playing, as it is our country’s largest and best festival of its kind. I’ve heard it’s well run, and the attendance is large so that’s good, however I personally hate being around lots of people or crowds. Not really my thing. Some great bands are playing as always...

What other bands playing MDF do you hope to see perform?
Anhedonist, Benediction, Bolt Thrower, 
Broken Hope, Carcass, Cobalt, Deiphago; 
Pagan Altar, 
Repulsion, Venom,
Tinner, and Tragedy.

Will you be doing other shows as part of your stop at MDF or is this appearance exclusive?
This is just a one off show for us though we have plans to return to the North East very soon…

Will there be any unusual or special merchandize you will be selling while at MDF?
It’s a secret to everyone, haha!

Is there anything else you hope to do while you are in Maryland?
No not really… sleep? Travel is cathartic so it will be nice to be away from home. We have lots of friends that will be in attendance so that’s definitely what I’m looking forward to.

Is there anything else you want people to know about your band?
Any new records coming up?
We have two splits coming this year both for vinyl: one with Graves At Sea and one with Hooded Menace. We hope you find the way to a razor, noose or bottle pills through our music or at least catharsis. We will most likely disappoint you live. Unjoy…

Sunday, April 7, 2013

INTERVIEW: Carpathian Forest prepare for exclusive Maryland Deathfest show

Carpathian Forest embodies everything I love about black metal --grim but beautiful, atmospheric melodies, songs with misanthropic themes and socially biting, often disturbing lyrics. Yet the group couches this "strange old brew" of ideas into infectious rock and roll rhythms that make me want to get up and dance. They also are not afraid to add in unnerving audio samples and keyboards or include a cover song when the mood strikes. Weird? Of course. Disturbing? Sometimes. Awesome? Yes! Carpathian Forest perform Sunday, May 26 at the 2013 Maryland Deathfest, their first performance on U.S. soil.

Formed in Norway in 1990 by Roger "Nattefrost" Rasmussen and John Nordavind, the group established themselves as a powerful force in the second wave of black metal with two demos, an EP and their seminal full-length Black Shining Leather. In 2000, the group experienced a lineup change that has persisted to this day. Among the new members was bassist Daniel Vrangsinn.

Vrangsinn is among the most recognizable figures in black metal with an arresting image of him appearing in photographer Peter Beste's book "True Norwegian Black Metal". In the group's infamous 2004 DVD, "We Are Going to Hollywood For This," he performs on stage wearing little more than a leather S&M style harness. He cuts a striking and memorable profile with corpse paint streaming down his face and sweat pouring off of his bare shoulders.

Vrangsinn also founded and leads Misantrof, a not-for profit, anti-commercial experiment that releases music (ANTIRecords) and the written word (ANTIPublishing) for free and allows the artists to retain full right to their work. The organization is supported entirely by donations that go back to the artists. Founded on the principal that "without greed or corruption art is set free to remind mankind what it never can be,"  Misantrof is a noble effort and further evidence of his strong character.

Vrangsinn's generosity seem as big as his physical stature, and he was kind enough to answer my basic questions, which follow. Daniel tells me that he and the rest of the CF crew will be attending the entire four days of MDF so be sure to be on the look out. Buy them some beer or some steamed crabs!

What will be the official lineup for Maryland Deathfest? 

Nattefrost - Vocal
Tchort - Guitar
Bloodpervertor - Guitar
Vrangsinn – Bass
Kobro – Drums

The line-up is the same Carpathian Forest you always get to see. No changes in the past decade.

What do you consider to be one of your band’s most essential recordings? And why?

The favorite album of mine is the first full length Black Shining Leather, but I do consider all the albums essential. Another of my favorites is Defending the Throne of Evil.

How does your band feel about playing Maryland Deathfest? What have you heard about this festival?

We are looking forward to this very much. We arrive a couple of days before our show to see other bands and meet US friends. 

What other bands playing MDF do you hope to see perform?

PENTAGRAM! I also hope to catch Venom, The Melvins, Bolt Thrower and many many more. 

Will you be doing other shows as part of your stop at MDF or is this appearance exclusive?

This is an exclusive concert. We won't do any other U.S. shows

Will there be any unusual or special merchandize you will be selling while at MDF?

I don't know yet

Is there anything else you hope to do while you are in Maryland? Eat crabs? Go to the Chesapeake Bay?

Hang out with friends, drink beer and watch concerts. Crab claws do sound tempting though.

Is there anything else you want people to know about your band?
We are slowly working on new material, and we hope to record a new album this year.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

HATE bassist dies unexpectedly in his sleep after Stuttgart show

The Polish death metal band Hate reported on their Facebook page today that their bassist, Sławek (Sławomir) "Mortifer" Archangielskij, has died suddenly in his sleep following a show in Stuttgart. The group has canceled the remainder of their tour dates.

Sławek (Sławomir) "Mortifer" Archangielskij,
Sławek (Sławomir) "Mortifer" Archangielskij
Here is the exact statement from Hate:


At night 5th/6th April near a German town of Munchberg, our friend, best comrade and longtime bass player unexpectedly passed away. After the show in Stuttgart last night he went to sleep and never woke up. We found him lifeless early in the morning and immediately called an ambulance. He was reanimated, but to no avail. Results of Sławek’s autopsy should be known soon. In this situation, we decided to cancel the remaining shows and return home. We gave detailed testimonies to the German police. We are shocked and shattered by his sudden, unexpected death. We mourn together with Slawek’s family and friends.

Adam, Konrad, Stanislaw, Daniel /HATE

I join with the group, his family and friends in mourning his sudden passing. I have seen Hate one time only and that was when they toured with Mayhem in December 2011. I took some photos of the show but only got one really good one of Mortifer as he was pretty active on the stage. Hate had just embarked on a European tour and had just released a new album Solarflesh, some of their best work yet.

May he rest in peace or rest in chaos....however you choose to think about it.

And seriously, what is the deal with these young guys dying in their sleep?

Thursday, April 4, 2013

INTERVIEW: Pagan Altar makes US debut at Maryland Deathfest

Pagan Altar
Think traditional heavy metal, and you should be thinking of the band Pagan Altar. Pagan Altar will play the 2013 Maryland Deathfest Sunday, May 26 at one of the former Sonar compound stages. This will be the first time Pagan Altar performs in the U.S.

Founded in the UK in the mid 1970s, this father-son project has a rich history of producing occult infused heaviness accompanied by equally theatrical stage presentations. The group logged just one cassette demo recording in 1982. Bootlegs of the demo helped spread the word. The band played a lot of gigs and, over time, Pagan Altar accrued a cult-like following, although mostly within the UK.

In 1998, the six demo songs were re-released on CD as Volume 1 by Oracle Records. With the advent of the Internet, interest in Pagan Altar began to spread rapidly beyond the confines of Great Britain. The bulk of their recordings have occurred in the 2000s.

Vocalist and lyricist Terry Jones is distinctive in the genre. To me it sounds like a cross between Steve Winwood and a young Ozzy Osbourne. His son, lead guitarist Alan Jones, authors the heavy riff-laden music. Second guitar duties go to Vince Hempstead, Dean Alexander plays drums and Liam Gallagher plays bass.

Always mysterious and ever heavy, the sounds of Pagan Altar will lure you into their darkened realm. The music is simple, melodic and unaffected but never boring. Each song builds layer upon layer until you get caught up in their spell.

Vince Hempstead graciously responded to a few questions.

How long has this current lineup been together? 
This line up has been together for one year although I have been with the band for two years, Dean for nearly four years; Terry and Alan are the only original members.

What would you say is an essential Pagan Altar recording? 
“The Rising of the Dark Lord” seems very popular and has had the most YouTube hits out of all the tracks so we are going to be playing that track at MDF as it has never been played before with the current line up and has only been played once before ever live.

How does your band feel about playing Maryland Deathfest? What have you heard about this festival?
We are all very excited and honored, as we have heard it is the biggest and best metal festival in USA with constant great bands playing.

What other bands playing MDF do you hope to see perform? 
We are very much looking forward to seeing Manilla Road and were happy that there set is the same day as ours.

Will you be doing other shows as part of your stop at MDF or is this appearance exclusive?
The agreement for our appearance is this would be an exclusive show, but we aim to come back in the future for smaller shows.

Will there be any unusual or special merchandize you will be selling while at MDF?
Most of the merchandise will be arranged for us, but we are bringing some new silver logo/head pendants with us that were handmade by the ex-bassist Diccon Harper. Also we are planning to have a special MDF/Pagan Altar t-shirt made just for that gig.

Is there anything else you hope to do while you are in Maryland? Eat crabs? Go to the Chesapeake Bay?
We are just happy to come and visit Maryland but the Chesapeake Bay would be a bonus if we could take time out to visit.

Is there anything else you want people to know about your band? Any new records coming up?
At the moment we are working hard to complete the new album Never Quite Dead, and this is our main priority. Any new news will be posted on our band Facebook page. 

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

REVIEW: Howl - Bloodlines, play Sidebar March 28

What are you doing Thursday night? You are going to see Howl at The Sidebar, that’s what. Why? Because they rock, and they have a new album out, and they drink Narragansett beer by the case, and I can spell Narragansett, which is in Rhode Island, which is where Howl is from.

ILSA, Spoilage and Dead Gods are also playing. All reasons enough. Now about this new record.

Howl’s new album Bloodlines further establishes the group as true heavy hitters in a metal market miasma dominated by snail’s pace funeral doom and core-of the week screamers. Blending blackened vocals, solid blues infused melodies with churning riffs and thrashy rhythms, Howl gives me everything I want in a metal band.

They have their doomier moments, true, but it also makes sense that this group has toured with Skeletonwitch and Red Fang, who keep the tempo upbeat and the drums pounding most of the time. I pretty much love everything about Bloodlines.

If you like groups like High on Fire, old Mastodon and Crowbar, Howl will appeal to you.

Record reviews are hard for me, so I will just give you some highlights. The second track “Midnight Eyes” roars forth and immediately assumes a thrash pace likely to get audiences moving. The chorus is headbang-worthy. This leads straight into another great song, “Demonic.” Great lyrics and memorable riffs. “One Last Night” almost has a post-metal melody, and I really like that, but it never strays from Howl’s mission of melting faces with those unrelenting power riffs.

“Down So Low” slows things down a bit to a sinister pace, with more baritone vocals coming through. “With a Blade” is among the most “doom-like” sounding songs on the album. No doubt the flavor-of-the-week kids will enjoy the fuck out of this down-tuned delight. Thankfully, “Of War” brings the tempo back up a bit. The slightly more progressive, Mastodon-y sounding “The Mouth of Madness” is also a slower track featuring death metal like chugga-chugga- guitar work and vocal harmonies.

There are some other songs on there; just buy Bloodlines when it comes out April 30. You won’t be sorry.

See you suckers tomorrow.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

REVIEW: War Injun/Doomdogs 7" split

International penpals were once a method people had to learn about other cultures. Maryland’s War Injun and Sweden’s Doomdogs have created such a dialog with their new 7" split released by Svart Records. In this case, however, it’s a dialog of doom.

War Injun describe themselves as power doom, though I’d put them squarely in the stoner rock category along with Pentagram and similar. This band is all about the riff delivered expertly by Kenny Staubs and Dave Morgan. Their rhythm section, which consists of JB Matson and Tony Comulada, lays down a crushingly heavy foundation for every song.

Their contribution to the split is the previously unreleased “Smokethrower” featuring former singer JD Williams. Vocal duties were recently filled by Jack Roemer (also of Tank Murdock and formerly of Dead Men Sway). During some recent live performances Roemer, no doubt by some shamanistic spell, has been able to make War Injun’s lyrics even more thunderous than they were with Williams.

“Smokethrower” is most definitely a rockin’ tune featuring rapid-fire verses halted by a more ponderous chorus. The varied pace adds drama.  The guitar tone is flawless, obliterating everything in its path. It’s a fitting swan song for Williams and a great showcase for the talents that remain in War Injun.

On the flipside, we have “Oceans of Despair” from Doomdogs, who  play somewhat more melodic doom, but their sound is definitely companionable with War Injun.  Vocalist Tomas "GG" Eriksson projects the lyrics with a kind of raw operatic flare over the powerful riffage provided by guitarist Christer Cuñat, whose solos are reminiscent of 70s blues-rock. The song features an extended funky jam segment with a fat bass and sizzling lead. The tune marches to its somewhat untimely end, whereupon the song seems to abruptly fall apart. Except for this unsettling conclusion, “Oceans of Despair” is a stellar response to War Injun’s call on the other side.  Former member Emil Rolof is featured on drums and Patrik Andersson Winberg on bass, who is set to perform his last gig with the group on April 6.

War Injun’s drummer explained that the split came about because the two groups were fans of each other music. “We actually hooked up with Doomdogs through Facebook,” Matson said. (Well, doesn’t everyone?)

The split has also become something of a promo for a Doomdogs/War Injun tour slated for late summer. And for War Injun, at least, it offered a means to transition into writing and recording with their new singer.

“We are nearly done with the writing process for our next full length ‘Left For The Wolves’, which will be released before August,” Matson said. “Jack is working out tremendously. War Injun is without a doubt, the most solid of a unit as it has ever been. We have already written five new songs with this lineup, and it’s the best music we have ever written. The 2013 Summer Tour starts August 2 in Fort Worth, Texas and continues through August 11 from Texas to Florida and then straight up the East Coast. Leather Nun America (California) are touring with us, and if all things work out, so will Doomdogs.” 

Check out both songs below. 

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Arckanum to release Fenriz Kindir in May

Swedish black metal project Arckanum will be putting out a new album called Fenriz Kindir (that is, Fenriz's Children) on May 14 with Season of Mist.

Fenriz Kindir coming soon from Arckanum
Check out this intense album art! 

According to band founder Shamaatae, "This album is a dedication to the flaming giant-wolf, son of Loki; created from the Chaos-fires of Múspellsheimr. It is a tribute to the wrathful giant-wolf, son of Angrboða, found in the Ironwood where he is breeding hordes of giant monstrous wolves with Angrboða. His victorious name is Fenrir, also called Tungls Tjúgari! Hail Fenrir!"

He continues: "The sounds and music on this album are my auditory vision of the march of Fenrir convoyed with his hordes of giant wolves from the depths of the underworld to face Ragna Rök with warlike glory – deformed giant-wolves swarming in thousands."

Be still my nerdy, little  black metal heart. This recording looks like it's going to be the soundtrack to that Norse Literature course I devoured in college. 

Shamaatae explains:  The Old Norse saga Völuspá (40-41) says, 'In the east of the Ironwood (Járnviðr) she the Old One (Angrboða) sat and there bore Fenrir’s Kin (Fenris kindir). One of which became the most worthy of them all, the One taking down the sun/moon with a two-pronged pitchfork (tungls tjúgari), in a troll’s shape. He fills his belly with the corpses of dead men and defiles the houses of gods with blood. The sun’s beams blacken during summers and the weather grows stormy.' The later saga Gylfaginning (51) reveals Fenrir’s flaming Múspell-descent during Ragna Rök: 'Fenrir shall advance with gaping mouth, and his lower jaw shall be against the earth, but the upper against heaven, he would gape yet more if there were room for it; fires blaze from his eyes and nostrils... The Sons of Múspell shall go forth to that field which is called Vígríðr, thither shall come Fenrir also...'"

I like when a songwriter provides you with the citations from the literature. Do go on....

"This is my tribute to the wrathful, harsh and untamed anti-nature of Fenrir’s mighty essence! The anti-cosmic enemy of the worlds! Heill Tungls Tjúgari! Heilir Fenris Synir!"

Ok, so listeners will be immersed in some themes of deep Norse mythology. What about the music? What should we expect from the talented and mysterious Arckanum. Nothing but magic. Check out the guest players on each track!

The track listing and guest players for Fenriz Kindir are as follows: 

1. Fenris Kindir Grúa
2. Tungls Tjúgari: Peter Asp, horns.
3. Dólgrinn
4. Hatarnir: Lena Klarström: female vocals; Peter Asp: howling guitars.
5. Hamrami: Ljuder-Stefan Westberg: horns and violins.
6. Fenris Gangr
7. Vargøld: Olof Lindberg and Peter Asp: chorus and horns.
8. Angrboða: Lena Klarström: female vocals.
9. Úskepna
10. Spell
11. Sólbøls Sigr: Ljuder-Stefan Westberg: keyed fiddle (nyckelharpa) and violins.
12. Lycanthropia [Necromantia cover, bonus track on digital and LP editions]

My birthday is in May. I know what I will be reserving for myself. I can't wait. 

Here's a track from Arckanum's last recording from 2011.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

GUEST BLOG: Growing up with Lord Dying

Lord Dying, an emerging heavy metal band based in Portland, Oregon, combines an intense metal experience with lyrics on the darker side of human existence – songs about depression, doom and dismemberment, peppered with heavy riffs and a not-so-hidden distaste for humanity.
Lord Dying

I’ve (**see note below) known two of the band members – Chris Evans (guitar) and Erik Olson (guitar, vocals) since elementary school, growing up in Sandy, Utah. Chris was the kid who wore black Nirvana T-shirts to school in third grade and Erik’s parents’ basement was a noted pit stop for several bands on tour. We all loved music and played in bands off and on since middle school. Chris reminds me he’s been a metal fan since Erik gave him a copy of Megadeth’s Rust in Peace for his birthday in the fifth grade. This past fall I saw Lord Dying rock in Richmond, Virginia, during their last U.S. tour with the band Red Fang at a completely packed, sold out show. I recently chatted with Chris about their new album coming out this coming June on Relapse.

Since forming two and a half years ago, Lord Dying has developed their own sound and formed a clear metal style. The band consists of four members in addition to Chris and Erik, including Don Capuano (bass) and John Reid (drums). I asked Chris what influences their music and he tells me they draw on various styles such as thrash, doom and prog. He tells me his tastes are much broader now as he draws on other musicians than exclusively metal bands, for instance the classical guitarist Augustine Barrios, whose complex fingering techniques make their way into his own riffs.

Lord Dying has toured with bands such as Witch Mountain, Black Cobra, Gaza, Danava and most recently Down, lead by the singer of Pantera, where they played three shows together in Seattle, Portland and Boise, Idaho. In 2012 they played two U.S. tours, first with Witch Mountain and most recently with Red Fang. It was during this last tour they received their record deal from Relapse Records.
Erik, me and Chris at the Richmond, VA show.

“We were pretty much the last ones to find out,” Chris laughs, “It was a big surprise. One of the guys from Relapse kept calling us before the show to hang out and we didn’t know why.”

I ask Chris if it’s difficult to be on tour. “It’s definitely a lot of driving and waiting around for the thirty minutes we’re on stage, but it’s worth it. We play shows every night and never get enough sleep. But when we get home we want to be back out again.” They plan to continue touring this summer and line up bigger metal shows so they can promote their new album. 

Their musical process involves frequent collaboration and experimentation. Erik writes all the lyrics and song titles and has more lyrics written then they have songs for. After splitting up for awhile, Chris and Erik started playing together again when Erik moved to Portland and came over to jam.

“We wrote our first song right then. John and I started the band and were looking for another guitarist. When we jammed with Erik it all came together. We knew what we needed to do. The chemistry was still there.” Indeed, that first night they wrote their first song, "In a Frightful State of Gnawed Dismemberment", which will appear on their full-length LP coming out in June (also available at here) and quickly started playing riffs and pouring out new songs. The band has remained in its current form since Erik joined.

For west-coasters, Lord Dying has two shows lined up in their home base of Portland, one at the venue Branx on March 8th, and Stump Fest on April 20th. You can follow them on Facebook at and Twitter at for tour information and band updates. Expect to be blown away!

**NOTE: This blog post was written by my friend Jacob Koskimaki, who is super smart and works at the University of Virginia. Together with his friends from Lord Dying, we are converting him into a metalhead.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Full stream of Vreid - Welcome Farewell

Vreid, the Norwegian black and roll band that arose from the ashes of Windr in 2004, have a new record, Welcome Farewell, set for North American release March 5, 2013. Their blend of black metal, punky thrash and straightforward rock and roll combined with captivating song writing and lyrics puts them into my "what's not to like?" category. I can put on any one of their albums and listen from start to finish without wanting to skip a song. I only hope a North American tour accompanies this release.

A recent press release about Vreid's new recording describes the work this way:

Notorious for their well-researched, historically-inspired lyrics, the band’s third and fourth offerings, I Krig and Milorg, were both concept albums based around the liberation work in Norway during World War II. Liberation was also the keyword on VREID’s last offering, V, but placed in a broader historical/philosophic perspective. The lyrics on Welcome Farewell describe a lifecycle through a series of short stories, seen from an existential point of view and, inspired by Hváll’s own local community with its nature, architecture and historical artists such as Arne Garborg and Otto Valstad, are more personal than ever before.

The members of Vried are Hváll - Bass; Sture - Vocals/Guitar; Strom - Guitar and Steingrim - Drums.

You can listen to a full stream of the new album here: 

Sunday, February 24, 2013

REVIEW: The Almighty Propagator of Doom and Despair, plus philosophizing with Ptahil

I like to imagine that somewhere in northeastern Indiana there lies a portal to the Underworld where the members of the Ptahil have set up camp to receive messages directly from their Dark Lord. I am probably not too far off, based on  the content of their most recent recording.

Ptahil, which in gnostic mysticism can also be spelled Fetahil, is described as the builder of the material world. Ptahil, the band from Fort Wayne, Indiana, is comprised of drummer/vocalist J. Mhághnuís and multi-instrumentalist/vocalist D. Luathca, and they have been building their world of chaos since 2009. They have created two demos, two EPs, one single and two full-length recordings in that time, the most recent of which, The Almighty Propagator of Doom and Despair, came out December 21, 2012 (defying a predicted Mayan apocalypse).

Both members have also been in and are currently contributing to several other musical projects. Currently, Ptahil is in the process of mixing a third full-length recording called Born Against with Wraith Productions and is slated for release in 2014. But let’s talk about the album at hand.

The Almighty Propagator of Doom and Despair roars forth like a swarming horde from the very first track, “Satanicus Sabbathicus,” which features pummeling drums and an almost industrial black metal atmosphere. Launched with backwards invocation, “Possessed by Death” transitions the listener to a much doomier plane of existence. I can imagine fans chanting along with the refrain here.

The third track “Blood, Semen, Shit”-- well, that just about covers the entirety of human existence doesn’t it. This song is a bit more trashy and lyrically will make you “curse all life’s creation”.

Track four, “Mors Aut Libertas,” continues in the somewhat trashy vein. Here, Ptahil builds a wall of sound with heavy guitar distortion and drumming. Lyrically, I think this may capture Ptahil’s spirit. “And what magic was (sic) you trying to summon, stirring up men's hearts to action? Revolution and change? This is paid in blood. Not by obliging the chains to bind you. Nor by giving up your spark. Raise your fire for All the Gods to see. For your soul to be free.”

“Pact with the Devil” returns to the doom and features some of the most melodic segments of the album. At times, it dips into psychedelic realms! This track trudges along, crushing everything in its path. It is among my favorite songs on the record.

The title track of this album clocks in at nearly 13 minutes, which is long for a black metal song. Yet this epic and multifaceted track builds and builds to a crescendo of rage befitting a title song for this recording. Lyrically, like most Ptahil songs, the themes are simultaneously obscure and evident. “What love can survive and flourish in this realm?” There is deep “gnosis” here, but many people will probably not want to dwell on the possible implications and will be content to simply bang their heads.

Like a freight train plummeting over a cliff, the album’s final track, “Hell Spells and Satanic Rituals,” moves at a break-neck pace and concludes in under two and a half minutes. The album ends with another backwards vocal. A malediction perhaps, rather than a benediction.

Overall, The Almighty Propagator of Doom and Despair will likely leave you satisfied and exhausted, like a good old-fashioned shag. That’s ironic, given the underlying theme of the record that reveals itself through the lyrics. This album may cause you to question your existence and purpose in this shadowy physical plane. That is a mighty accomplishment from little more than 45 minutes of music and should put this record on the watchlist of any follower of American black metal.

On the downside, I am not sure I like the way this recording was mixed (granted I know nothing about this process). I feel like the vocals, which are quite good, get lost under the music. The guitar work sounds indistinct at times. Listening on headphones helps.

I interviewed Mhághnuís via email. Here’s what he had to say about the band, the future and this recording.

What did you set out to achieve with this recording? 
Total freedom. To put into light the terrible instinct of human reproduction. As people go on, so goes enslavement.

Where was the recording done and what atmosphere were you trying to create. 
Ptahil does all our tracking at our temple/studio. For The Almighty Propagator... mixing and mastering was done here as well. We always try to bring an atmosphere of chaos to our releases. With this release, however, we wanted to bring a manipulated feel. This is what mankind is the best at doing, manipulation. Manipulating other living things. Manipulating the landscape, and nature. This is why the full release could be played both forward and backward. There are specific messages both ways in our own attempts to manipulate the listener to seek out their total freedom by any means necessary.

I heard the band was looking for a bassist. How is that going? 
Ptahil is D. Luathca and myself. We are looking for a third to make our magic stronger, at least for live rituals, but we have not found anyone who can both play the music and deal with what Ptahil is about. It takes more than playing the music perfectly. It is about making a specific pact.

I have not heard reverse recording in music for a long time. I suppose the only way you could listen to it would be to get it in vinyl and spin the disc in reverse. Why did you decide to use this?
Well, when this was originally being recorded, the plan was to release it on vinyl. However we did not give a fuck about time constraints, we just worried about doing the release how it felt it should be done. This led to the recording being too long for a standard vinyl pressing by two songs. Our record label (Wraith Productions) received the masters and did not want to exclude the two songs. So we opted to release it on CD. (You can find this and other Ptahil recordings and merch here.)

What plans do you have to tour in support of this record, and how will it be distributed? 
We have distribution in Europe through Code 7 with Wraith Prod. People can pick up the releases in stores in Europe. There is limited distribution in America however, (of course) Into The Void Records carries our releases in their store in St. Paul, Minnesota. You can get the releases in the mail through us and Wraith.
Ptahil will be playing THE DEVIL'S COVEN FEST at Station 4 in St. Paul on May 18. This so far is the ONLY show for Ptahil in 2013.

What is on the agenda for the upcoming year? 
Ptahil has another release finished and in the mixing stages titled, Born Against, which is to be released through Wraith. We also have 2+ more releases in the rehearsal recording stages. We will start tracking these songs during this year.
D. Luathca has a release recorded playing bass for The Lurking Corpses, which is set for release this year. I have also joined up with Demonic Christ for their two fest appearances for this year and look to be recording their new release this year as well.

Anything else you want to mention? 
Demonic Christ will be performing at Cathedral of the Black Goat Fest March 30 and Martydoom Fest June 29-31. Ptahil will be performing at THE DEVIL'S COVEN FEST at Station 4 in St. Paul, Minnesota on May 18. So if anyone hates my guts enough to take my life, there are your three chances.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

REVIEW: Embers and Revelations, plus Weapon's Monarch speaks


What do you get when you cross the anti-religious themes of true black metal with the death metal aesthetics of Bolt Thrower and tinge it with the cultural undertones of Bangladesh? You get Weapon. (And yes, the name is trademarked; legally there can be only one.)

The first time I heard Canada’s blackened death metal group Weapon was shortly before the June 2012 Marduk show at the former Sonar in Baltimore. A friend had told me that Weapon were the only reason to go to the show. They weren’t the only reason to be there, but they sure were damn good.

From that time, I have gotten to know the band a little more, gone back and listened to some of their earlier recordings, and have kept in touch with the group’s vocalist and chief songwriter who goes by the name Vetis Monarch.

I have been listening to their latest recording Embers and Revelations since it was released in October 2012. Initially, I had fallen in love with the mystery and dark beauty crafted by their second full length, From the Devil’s Tomb. You can read more about my first encounter with Weapon here.

Now, months later, I feel like Embers and Revelations exceeds the intensity and excellence of this previous work. I am glad I waited to write my review.

The album slithers forth with the track “The First Witness of Lucifer.” With a relentless beat and chugging riffs, it’s an appropriate processional into the unholy aural onslaught to come.

The song “Vanguard of the Morning Star” offers devotees a perfect blend of black metal and death meal. Blast beats, tremolo riffs, a blistering lead and sinister growling vocals. “Crespuscular Swamp, Unhinged Swine” slows the pace down a bit to a death metal trudge. The track crushes its enemies and takes no prisoners.

The next track “Liber Lilith” stands out, maybe because of its memorable opening riff or its fist-pumping refrain. I can’t really post the lyrics about this “feral harlot; unchaste spirit” here, but rest assured, this song will creep under your skin.

“Grotesque Carven Portal” begins with some ethereal soundscapes and them moves into what might be called the “Weapon-sound,” as this group definitely has an identifiable progression of chords and musical themes that seem to reveal themselves, however subtly, in every track. (Maybe Vetis should look into trademarking this sound as well #joking.)

This instrumental quickly transitions into the roar of the title track of the album. At just under 4 minutes, “Embers and Revelations” packs a demonic punch, but I actually wish this song were a bit longer. It features a rally cry, which is sure to get audiences revved in a live setting, but it seems to lack the songwriting complexity that most of Weapon’s other songs possess.

The final two tracks are my favorite for this Weapon outing. “Disavowing Each in Aum” provides head-banging material for sure with raging rhythms and plenty of shredding, but it also offers up that subtle intricacy that Weapon does so well. The slower, more introspective sections of this song mesmerize.
The album’s final track, “Shahenshah,” will likely go into the group’s rotation of songs used as encores. Epic riffage, building tension and satisfying resolutions, Weapon gives it all to you here. In the song, Vetis Monarch sings the lyrics “O, archon, emperor, monarch, shahenshah -The luminous jewel on the acausal crown.”

The truth is, “Shahenshah” is this recording’s crown jewel and Weapon’s signature song to date.

Weapon’s third full-length album, Embers and Revelations, firmly establishes these warriors on the landscape of satanic metal bands to watch. I missed the sound of the sitar prominently featured in previous albums, so I invite you to go back and listen to Drakonian Paradigm and From the Devil’s Tomb and witness how Vetis Monarch and company have evolved to this point.

Here is what Vetis Monarch had to say about the band, his philosophies and this record:

How would you describe your personal philosophy, and how does it inform the music and lyrics of this latest Weapon recording? You seem to be a Theistic Satanist with Hindu underpinnings; is that how you would describe it?

In the most general of descriptions, I’d say that’s fairly accurate. On one hand, I can say I can say that I’m a Satanist and leave it at that; that’s the long and short of it, because to me, there’s only ONE kind of Satanism when you cut through all the red tape and unnecessary factions. But when talking on a more complex level, I can go further with what led me to my current belief system, what were the things I rejected, what culturally-leaning occult biases I absorbed and so forth. The Hindu / Eastern aspect is certainly a big part of it.

I thought your performance here in Baltimore back in June was very dynamic with good interplay between band members. Describe the chemistry of the band’s current line up and how that enhanced writing and recording this new record.

The three core members of the band – myself, Kha Tumos (bass guitar) and The Disciple (drums and percussion) - we are closer to age and grew up on similar bands. We have been playing for quite some time together now. Also, prior to joining Weapon, both of those individuals played in War March. So they already brought chemistry to the table, and then the three of us formed our own way of doing things and developed our own chemistry. The “new” guy Rom Surtr (lead guitars) is quite a bit younger and comes from a different generation, so of course there’s a gap when it comes to certain reference points and whatnot. But he caught on to our way of doing things fast; everything from understanding our sound, to camaraderie, sense of humor, et al – he’s there. In a lot of ways, understanding the aspects that DON’T involve the music are even more important, which Rom Surtr does. If there is no chemistry off-stage, it probably won’t translate on-stage.

What sort of experience or knowledge do you hope to bring to people when they listen to Weapon (other than kick ass blackened death metal that is easy to mosh to)? For example, what thoughts or emotions do you hope to provoke and why?

I am a huge advocator of reading lyrics, so for me it’s always fantastic when someone will write to me saying that certain Weapon lyrics inspired him / her to research further into a occult, historical or religious topic. That to me is pay dirt. A girl wrote to me recently that subject matter off ‘From The Devil’s Tomb’ inspired her to take Sanskrit courses in University. I thought that was very cool.

A good set of headphones and very little lighting should generate the best Weapon listening experience, I find. In a live setting we just like to see people get violent and hurt themselves / each other. This past summer when we were on tour, someone dislocated his knee from reacting too excitedly in the crowd. We encourage things like that.

Were there any particular challenges or triumphs in recording Embers and Revelations?
Between 2010 and early 2012 I had a lot of instability in my personal life, from getting arrested to being homeless - just one chaotic event after another, some of which I can't get into due to legal reasons. Kha Tumos (bass guitar) had a lot of personal shit going on as well. Then about a year ago, we changed lead guitar players, which was just weeks before we had to go and perform at Rites Of Darkness in Texas - all very stressful, I’m sure you can imagine. We were questioning the band's existence at certain points. Any sense of luxury or complacency that had manifested was quickly erased by fire and fury. The hunger came back and it really helped with the songwriting process. Embers And Revelations ended up being a lot more belligerent and malicious than I originally thought it could be.

Tell me about the cover art/artist.
The artist is Benjamin Vierling, an American painter. He has been with us since Drakonian Paradigm, and he really understands how we work. A modern-day genius, in my humble opinion. We provide him with rough ideas about the art we have in mind and the lyrics, and he comes up with these stunning masterpieces.

The Wheel of Fate is something that has been used throughout all the Weapon artworks. It appears on the Drakonian Paradigm cover image, under Lucifer's feet. It appears again on the From the Devil's Tomb image, between the inverted hanged man and the demon. Now it appears as the foundation of this image for Embers and Revelations. The Wheel is ever revolving, ever turning, and in the process, it crumbles...

The Tiger and the Wolf pertain to my dreams. Benjamin Vierling, the master and the genius, saw them flanking the Wheel in this manner: guardians, adversaries, and heraldic totems all at once. The daemonic skull has layers of meaning, being simultaneously an invocation, a conquering and a memorial. The red eye on the brow demonstrates profound vision; seeing beyond seeing! The crown is an allusion to the 'Shahenshah' - the King of all Kings. The star emblazoned on the crown of disillusion also has special significance; the serpents are also classic motifs, insinuating divine gnosis through venomous initiation.

I hear some of the same musical themes in Embers as I did in From the Devil’s Tomb. Can this new album be seen as a continuation of that story?

Most certainly. Every Weapon release is part of the same ongoing story. The songs on the albums themselves stand alone, in that, we don’t make concept albums; but the discography of Weapon is one singular concept. Weapon will always champion Satanism.

My current favorite track on this recording is “Disavowing Each in Aum”. What is it about?

Aum is Om and is of supreme significance in Hinduism. This symbol is a consecrated syllable representing Brahman, the impersonal Absolute of Hinduism - omnipotent, universal, and the foundation of all discernible life.

I believe that sociopaths and psychopaths are inherently missing the link to Aum, whether they are aware of it or not. They are void of that connection that links all living creatures to cosmic laws, both macrocosmic and microcosmic. The missing link is what separates the clay-born from the fire-born. I essentially wrote this song for criminals, sociopaths, psychopaths, invalids, outcasts, degenerates and lunatics of this secular world, who are raping the very tenets of godhood, thereby becoming gods themselves.

Likewise, what is “Shahenshah” about? References I found mention a Bollywood superhero! It’s a very cool song by the way, nice guitar solo there!

“Shahenshah” is a word that derives from Avestan meaning power and command, corresponding to the Sanskrit word kshatriya (warrior). The full, Old Persian title of the Achaemenid rulers of the First Persian Empire was King of Kings. It was a title of the utmost reverence, respect, adulation and fear for a lord above all. Of course, in our paradigm that is a direct reference to Lucifer / Shiva / Loki / Set / Pan, etc. This song is an all-encompassing piece about the Lord of the Left Hand Path and His ethereal decree upon and beyond the universe.

Anything else you want to share?

That’s all for now. All pertinent Weapon information can be found at